Match summary: Kohli guides India to narrow win
Virat Kohli always scored well against Pakistan. None of his innings was more valuable than today’s unbeaten 82 (53 balls) which lifted India to an unlikely four-wicket victory over Pakistan in T20 World Cup 2022. The win in Melbourne came off the last ball of the Group 2 match. Pakistan had dominated the best part of the match when India’s pursuit of 160 for a win unravelled by the sixth over.
From the depths of 31/4, Kohli and Hardik Pandya (40 off 37) cut out early risks before stepping up the scoring after 10 overs. A 20-run over from left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz gave them momentum. Kolhi rolled back the years to power boundaries off Shaheen Shah Afridi and sixes off Haris Rauf in the 18th and 19th overs.
The drama continued into the last over, but Kohli’s slammed a six to calm the nerves, and India reached 160 off the last ball.
Put to bat, half-centuries in contrasting styles from Iftikhar Ahmed (51 off 34 balls) and Shan Masood (52 not out off 42) steered Pakistan to 159/8. The total didn’t look possible when Pakistan lost openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan early. Pakistan lost skipper Azam to the first ball he faced as India’s debutant Arshdeep Singh (3-32) struck with his first delivery of the tournament.
The left-arm seamer went to take two more wickets. After Ahmed and Masood added 76 for the third wicket to stabilise Pakistan, Hardik Pandya (3-30) sent back Ahmed and followed it up with a double strike. But Masood and a cameo from Shaheeh Shah Afridi (16 off 8) helped Pakistan set a challenging target of 160 for India.
Pakistan’s formidable pace attack brought them back into the game before Kohli’s fireworks lit up the MCG.
India win heart-stopper by four wickets
India defeated Pakistan by four wickets in the last ball of the match. Virat Kohli (82 not out off 53 balls) pulled India out of the woods of 31/4 and steered them to a narrow win in Melbourne. Ravichandran Ashwin hit the winning run.
Kohli, Pandya keep India fight alive
Virat Kohli (42 off 37 balls) and Hardik Pandya (32 off 25) put on an unbeaten 69 runs for the fifth wicket to keep alive India’s chase of 160 for a win. India are 100/4 in 15 overs after Pakistan's fast bowlers ripped out India’s top three, followed by a run out. Kohli and Pandya repaired the damage before stepping up the scoring against left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz. A 20-run over with sixes gave them the momentum. India’s hopes rest on this pair, while Pakistan are eagerly looking for a breakthrough. A close finish on the cards.
Close finish expected...
The game is back on the shoulders of Pakistani pacers after spinner Nawaz gave away 20 runs in an over. While India need 60 runs in five overs, the Pakistani pace attack has to work very hard to stop in-form Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya as they look to take the game away from Pakistan. Pakistan need a couple of more wickets if they want to win the game.
India struggle to stay afloat
Pakistan bowlers have a stranglehold on the game against India, who are struggling at 45/4 in 10 overs as they chase 160 for victory. After Pakistan fast bowlers Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf made early dents with three wickets in the powerplay, India’s Axar Patel ran himself out. With India looking down the barrel at 31/4, Virat Kohli and Hardik Patel cut out risks to stitch together a partnership. Runs are coming in a trickle, and India have a mountain to climb. Advantage Pakistan.
Axar Patel is walking off the pitch after he is run out. He tried to take a single after pushing the ball straight to Babar Azam's hands. Kohli rightly sent him back, but he could not make it back to the crease. India are 34-4 in the 7th over. Pakistan are on a roll after a superb start by their fast bowlers
Pakistan pacers seize command
Pakistan’s fearsome fast bowler wrested back the initiative from India, who are chasing 160 for a win, with three wickets. India were struggling at 31/3 at the end of the powerplay (6 overs). The strikes didn’t come from their talisman Shaheen Shah Afridi, but Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf did the damage. Shah took out KL Rahul (4) and Rauf claimed a double dismissing Rohit Sharma (4) and Suryakumar Yadav (15). Pakistan are in total control, and India need a partnership to stay afloat
The third wicket is down as Haris Rauf strikes again claiming Suryakumar Yadav's wicket. Yadav was caught behind by Rizwan while trying to glide a rising fast delivery. India are 28/3 in the sixth over.
Rohit Sharma out, caught in the slips by Iftikhar Ahmed. Haris Rauf produced yet another big breakthrough. Terrific low catch. India are 10/2 in the fourth over.
Naseem Shah strikes in his first over. KL Rahul is beaten by the extra pace and edges on to the stumps. Young pacer Shah was the hero for Pakistan in the Asia Cup win against India in Dubai. Pakistan's ace pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi opened the bowling attack for Pakistan. Though he gave away only five runs in the first over, he did not get much movement on the ball.
Midway summary: Ahmed, Masood give Pakistan a fighting total
Half-centuries in contrasting styles from Iftikhar Ahmed (51 off 34 balls) and Shan Masood (52 not out off 42) lifted Pakistan to 159/8 against India after early setbacks in Melbourne. The challenging total didn’t look possible when Pakistan lost openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan early in the Group 2 encounter. But Ahmed and Masood added 76 for the third wicket to stabilise Pakistan.
Sent to bat first, Pakistan lost skipper Azam to the first ball he faced as India’s debutant Arshdeep Singh (3-32) struck with his first delivery of the tournament. The left-arm seamer went to take two more wickets. When the third wicket stand helped repair the damage for Pakistan, Hardik Pandya (3-30) sent back Ahmed and followed it up with a double strike. But Masood and a cameo from Shaheeh Shah Afridi (16 off 8) helped Pakistan set a target of 160 for India.
Pakistan have a formidable attack and this game is far from over. There will more edge-of-the-seat stuff in India’s chase.
Pakistan finish on 159/8
Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismissed Shaheen Shah Afridi, who played a fine cameo of an 8-ball 16 to lift Pakistan, who eventually finished on 159/8. It didn’t look possible when they lost skipper Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan early on. It’s certainly a good total since Pakistan have a formidable bowling attack.
Pakistan rode on the superb half-centuries from Iftikhar and Masood, who scored 100 runs in the last 10 overs as compared to 60 in the first 10 overs. Though Pakistan kept losing wickets, the batters kept the run rate up. Masood anchored the innings while the big hitters did their job. Shaheen Shah Afridi’s 16 runs in 8 balls and Haris Rauf’s six in the last over helped Pakistan set a challenging target of 160 runs. Wonderful match so far.
Shaheen Shah Afridi is caught and bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar but he did his job scoring a quick fire 16 in just 8 balls.
Asif Ali falls cheaply to pacer Arshdeep Singh. He took his eyes off the rising delivery and was caught by Karthik. The new batsman is Shaheen Shah Afridi. Pakistan are in trouble with 120-7 in 17th over.
Sixth wicket down. Mohammed Nawaz is caught behind while trying to guide the rising delivery by Pandya. Pakistan 115-6. Game has come down to Asif Ali. Will he perform today?
Hardik’s double strike stifles Pakistan
Iftikhar Ahmed (51 off 34 balls) and Shan Masood (37 not out) had stitched together 76 runs for the third wicket to aid Pakistan’s recovery. Ahmed was severe of left-arm spinner Axar Patel, taking 21 off him including three sixes. But he soon fell to Mohammed Shami. Hardik Pandya sent back Shadab Khan and Haider Ali in an over, and Pakistan hit the skids again. They are 106/5 in 15 overs, and will need to get 50 more in 5 overs to make a match of it.
It's quite possible as set batsman Masood is still on the crease with Nawaz while the big hitter Asif Ali is yet to come.
Middle-order collapse begins. Haider Ali is out while trying a big hit. Hardik Pandya gets 2 wickets in 1 over. Pakistan 98/5 in 14 overs. Nawaz is the new batter.
Fourth wicket down. Shadab Khan gets out while trying to hit a cross-bat shot. He is caught by Suryakumar off Pandya for 5. Pakistan are 96/4 in 13.2 overs. Is this the start of a middle-order batting collapse that Pakistan are famous for? Let's see. Haider Ali is new batsman on the crease giving company to Shan Masood.
Third wicket down. Iftikhar is out for LBW off pacer Shami. Amazing hitting by Iftikhar with four sixes. He proved to be a game-changer for his team with 51 runs off 32 balls. After Indian spinner Axar Patel was hammered for 21 runs by Iftikhar in his first over, Shami struck trapping Iftikhar in front. Pakistan are 92/3 in 12 overs.
Masood and Ali repair Pakistan innings
Shan Masood (29 off 26 balls) and Iftikar Ahmed (21 off 21) eschewed risks as they rebuilt the Pakistan innings with a sedate unbeaten third partnership of 45 so far. They helped Pakistan stabilise and reach 60/2 at the end of 10 overs. Masood survived a scare when Ravichandran Ashwin failed to reach a skier off Mohammed Shami. Pakistan bat deep, so they have to step up the scoring from now.
Pakistan are halfway through their innings. Good recovery after two early blows. The green shirts need to score at least 150 runs in 20 overs on this wicket to give India a competitive total to chase.
Pakistan need a new hero today
Pakistan could not have imagined such a disappointing start to their campaign as both its top batters and openers Azam and Rizwan fell cheaply. Pakistan are 32/2 in six overs. They really need to focus on singles and doubles as the ground is too big to hit fours and sixes. Great excitement for around 100,000 people at Melbourne Cricket Ground - believed to be the largest gathering of cricket fans of teams playing at a neutral venue. Party is on for cricket lovers around the world.
Arshdeep’s twin strike put India in control
India are in control at the end of the powerplay (6 overs) as Pakistan are 32/2, having lost openers Babar Azam for a first-ball duck and Mohammad Rizwan (15). The two have been scoring the bulk of the runs for Pakistan recently. India’s left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh has had a dream T20 World Cup debut, striking with his first ball and dismissing Rizwan later. Nerves were apparent as Pakistan’s Shan Masood ran for a non-existent single, and Virat Kohli missed a simple run out.
Rizwan is out. Another big blow to Pakistan as Indian pacer Arshadeep strikes again surprising Rizwan with a bouncer. Rizwan is caught on the fine-leg boundary as he mistimed the hook shot. Ifthikhar comes in to bat. Pakistan are 15/2 in four overs.
It becomes very tough for Pakistani middle-order batters when Babar gets out early. On a good day, openers Babar and Rizwan - the world’s top two T-20 batsmen - perform and it is considered a bad day when they fail to perform. Is it a bad day for Pakistan?
Shan Masood is at the crease now with Rizwan, but he is struggling to connect to the ball. Rizwan has to stay longer at the crease for Pakistan to get a decent total. The Pakistani batters need to consolidate the innings. Pakistan are 10/1 in three overs.
Big blow to Pakistan in the second over as skipper Babar Azam is trapped in front of the wicket by Indian pacer Arshdeep Singh. Babar out for a golden duck. Pakistan are 1/1 in second over.
Bhuvneshwar gets India underway
Bhuvneshwar Kumar with the new ball for India, and Mohammad Rizwan faces up to him. Pakistan skipper Babar Azam is the non-striker. Rizwan has taken a knock on the thumb from the second ball of the game, but he’s back on strike.
Hold on to your hats!
Fans ready for the game to begin
India win the toss and bowl first
India - Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh.
Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Babar Azam (captain), Shan Masood, Shadab Khan, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Asif Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf.
Preview: India will be wary of Shaheen Afridi
Shyam A. Krishna, Senior Associate Editor
India-Pakistan games are high-voltage clashes. They are highly anticipated since the archrivals two don’t play Test series, and the matches are limited to World Cup and Asia Cup tournaments. Pakistan won two of the three games in the last year, and the last two matches, which were evenly split, went to the wire. Today’s T20 World Cup game in Melbourne could be decided in the last over since the teams are well-matched.
WHO WILL WIN T20 WORLD CUP?
India are one of the best batting sides in the world, and Pakistan’s varied attack has some of the fastest bowlers in the world, consistently clocking over 140 kph. The return of Shaheen Shah Afridi will boost Pakistan, and India’s chances will depend on how they negotiate the matchwinning pacer. These matches are often nervy affairs, so the team that hold their nerves win.